Monday, August 19, 2019

Cat On Hot Tin Roof 1958

Gutted and skinned for late 50’s audiences it’s still quite enjoyable as a big Hollywood thing featuring two beauties at the beginning (paul Newman) and the middle (elizabeth Taylor) of their remarkable careers. During the filming Liz was actually in mourning over the untimely death of her husband Mike Todd who went Around The World and hit a mountain on the way home. Poor Liz, still looking ravishing and doing a good job as a ripe southern belle who married into a loveless but well to do marriage with pretty boy Paul Newman who spends the entire length of the movie with a leg in a cast and his body in pajamas drinking himself silly over the death of his pal and love of his life Skipper. Liz is unhappy because Paul won’t make babies with her and Big Daddy played by Burl Ives (who also played a bad daddy in The Big Country the same year and won an Oscar for that one) is storming around the old homestead pissed off about his son’s drinking and failure to become a little daddy and everyone is lying about Big Daddy’s declining health and fast approaching death. Meanwhile his other son played by the great Jack Carson and his wife the wonderful Williams fixture Madeleine Sherwood keep pushing out those no neck monsters. Filmed on basically one set and taking place in one day, these cats are hot and bothered, itching for a fight and carrying on like it was nobody’s business. Liz is stunning in only three costume changes that had my teen sister and her girlfriends swooning over her. This was a surprise hit, landing at Radio City Music Hall of all places and getting lots of love and Oscar nominations. Also around is the commanding Judith Anderson as Big Mama. Directed by Richard Brooks who based it on the Tennessee Williams play and was more than happy to remove all those nasty homo things to get his picture made. In Cinemascope and lovely pastel colors. Tennessee hated it.


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